Plasse et al v. Ford

Filing 24

ORDER signed by District Judge Troy L. Nunley on 12/5/2017 DENYING 10 Motion to Remand and DECLINING to permit joinder of Jim and Bobbi Laughton in Plaintiffs' FAC. The parties shall file a Joint Status Report within 30 days of this Order. (York, M)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 MAURICE JOHN PLASSE, III; and JEANNIE LYNNE PLASSE, Plaintiffs, 13 ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR REMAND v. 14 15 No. 2:17-cv-01136-TLN-EFB LYNLEY FORD, et al., Defendants. 16 17 This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Maurice John Plasse, III and Jeannie Lynne 18 19 Plasse’s (“Plaintiffs”) Motion for Remand. (ECF No. 10.) Defendant Lynley Ford (“Defendant”) 20 opposes the motion. (ECF No. 19.) Plaintiffs filed a Reply. (ECF No. 20.) Having read and 21 carefully considered the briefing filed by both parties, the Court hereby DENIES Plaintiffs’ 22 Motion for Remand. (ECF No. 10.) 23 /// 24 /// 25 /// 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 1 1 I. 2 This case involves a dispute among tenants in common who jointly own a parcel of real FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND 3 property (“Property”) known as Digitale Ranch. (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1 ¶ 1.) Plaintiffs 4 have an undivided 75 percent interest in the Property and Defendant has an undivided 25 percent 5 interest in the Property. (ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 2, 3.) Plaintiffs allege Defendant leased the entire 6 Property and all of its grazing capacity to one or more third parties, even though she only has a 25 7 percent interest in the Property. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 6.) Plaintiffs allege Defendant leased the land in order “to prejudice [P]laintiffs’ interest in 8 9 the Property and their cattle business, to deprive [them] of their peaceful enjoyment in the 10 Property, and . . . to harass [P]laintiffs.” (ECF No. 1 ¶ 7.) Plaintiffs allege Defendant has 11 misused the use of the deeded Digitale Easement on Plasse Ranch “by leaving gates open, 12 parking on the access road, blocking corral structures, and being verbally abusive to [P]laintiffs.” 13 (ECF No. 1 ¶ 18.) Plaintiffs further allege Defendant has not maintained or repaired the corrals 14 as required by the “Declaration of Understanding Concerning Corral Use.” (ECF No. 1 ¶ 24.) 15 Plaintiffs brought suit against Defendant in Amador County Superior Court on April 24, 16 2017. (ECF No. 1 at 6–11.) Plaintiffs allege five causes of action, which include: (1) quiet title 17 to Property free of any lease executed by Defendant; (2) cancellation of lease executed by 18 Defendant; (3) quiet title to Defendant’s deeded Digitale Easement on Plasse Ranch; (4) quiet 19 title to the license for Defendant’s use of the Plasse Ranch corrals; and (5) cancellation of the 20 aforementioned license executed by Plaintiffs for Defendant’s use. (See ECF No. 1.) 21 On May 30, 2017, Defendant removed this action to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, 22 asserting that Plaintiffs are citizens of California and Defendant is a citizen of New York, and the 23 value of Defendant’s interest in the Property is $1.3 million. (ECF No. 1 at 2.) On September 7, 24 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Remand. (ECF No. 10.) Plaintiffs contend that the Court does 25 not have subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiffs replaced Doe defendants with named non- 26 diverse defendants in their First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) (ECF No. 7), and no federal 27 question exists. (ECF No. 10 at 2.) 28 /// 2 1 II. 2 A civil action brought in state court, over which the district court has original jurisdiction, 3 may be removed by the defendant to federal court in the judicial district and division in which the 4 state court action is pending. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The district court has original jurisdiction 5 over civil actions between citizens of different states in which the alleged damages exceed 6 $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). The party asserting federal jurisdiction bears the burden of 7 proving diversity. Lew v. Moss, 797 F.2d 747, 749 (9th Cir. 1986) (citing Resnik v. La Paz Guest 8 Ranch, 289 F.2d 814, 819 (9th Cir. 1961)). Diversity is determined as of the time the complaint 9 is filed and removal effected. Strotek Corp. v. Air Transp. Ass’n of Am., 300 F.3d 1129, 1131 10 (9th Cir. 2002). Removal based on diversity requires that the citizenship of each plaintiff be 11 diverse from the citizenship of each defendant (i.e., complete diversity). Caterpillar Inc. v. 12 Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996). An individual defendant’s citizenship is determined by the state in 13 which he or she is domiciled. Weight v. Active Network, Inc., 29 F. Supp. 3d 1289, 1292 (S.D. 14 Cal. 2014). Removal statutes are to be strictly construed against removal. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 15 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). 16 STANDARD OF LAW The amount in controversy is determined by reference to the complaint itself and includes 17 the amount of damages in dispute, as well as attorney’s fees, if authorized by statute or contract. 18 Kroske v. U.S. Bank Corp., 432 F.3d 976, 980 (9th Cir. 2005). Where the complaint does not 19 pray for damages in a specific amount, the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the 20 evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Singer v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. 21 Co., 116 F.3d 373, 376 (9th Cir. 1997) (citing Sanchez v. Monumental Life Ins. Co., 102 F.3d 22 398, 404 (9th Cir. 1996)). If the amount is not facially apparent from the complaint, the Court 23 may “require parties to submit summary-judgment-type evidence relevant to the amount in 24 controversy at the time of removal.” Id. (citing Allen v. R & H Oil & Gas Co., 63 F.3d 1326, 25 1335–56 (5th Cir. 1995)). 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 3 1 III. 2 Defendant argues that Plaintiffs’ complaint filed in state court names Doe defendants, but ANALYSIS 3 does not allege their citizenship. (ECF No. 1 at 2.) Thus, Defendant asks that the Doe 4 defendants’ citizenship be disregarded to determine jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 and 28 5 U.S.C. § 1441(b). (ECF No. 1 at 2.) Defendant also states that the Court should use its discretion 6 to evaluate whether to join the non-diverse Doe defendants under the factors articulated in IBC 7 Aviation Services, Inc. v. Compañia Mexicana de Aviacion, 125 F. Supp. 2d 1008, 1011 (N.D. 8 Cal. 2000). (ECF No. 19 at 3.) Plaintiffs argue in their motion for remand that the two Doe 9 defendants named in the FAC are residents1 of California, and thus the Court “lacks subject 10 matter jurisdiction and the action should be remanded.” (ECF No. 10 at 2.) Furthermore, 11 Plaintiffs assert that IBC Aviation is not on point because it only applies to new parties, which the 12 named Doe defendants are not. (ECF No. 20 at 6.) Plaintiffs maintain that even if IBC Aviation 13 were to apply, the inclusion of the named Doe defendants is still proper. (ECF No. 20 at 6.) 14 A. Establishing Fictitious Parties in Federal Court 15 Plaintiffs state that the Laughtons are not new defendants, but were already named as Doe 16 defendants in this suit. (ECF No. 20 at 6.) There is no provision in the Federal Rules of Civil 17 Procedure or a federal statute that provides for the use of fictitious parties. Fifty Associates v. 18 Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 446 F.2d 1187, 1191 (9th Cir. 1970). The Ninth Circuit has 19 stated that if the allegations of the citizenship of the fictitious parties are “unfounded guesswork,” 20 the court’s jurisdiction is not established. Id. (citing Molnar v. National Broadcasting Co., 231 21 F.2d 684, 686–687 (9th Cir. 1970)). Here, Plaintiffs concede in their initial complaint that they 22 “are ignorant of and cannot presently ascertain the true identities” of the fictitious parties. (ECF 23 No. 1 at 7.) Any attempt now by Plaintiffs to claim they knew the citizenship of the fictitious 24 parties at the time of filing would be “unfounded guesswork.” Thus, the Court’s jurisdiction over 25 the Laughtons is not established by naming Doe defendants in their initial complaint. 26 /// 27 1 28 Plaintiffs’ counsel has misused the proper test to establish subject matter jurisdiction, replacing citizenship with residence. The Court reads Plaintiffs’ counsel’s use of residence as referring to citizenship. 4 1 2 B. Plaintiffs’ Argument on IBC Aviation Plaintiffs argue that IBC Aviation is not on point and is used when a plaintiff, post- 3 removal, attempts to join a new defendant to defeat diversity jurisdiction. (ECF No. 20 at 6.) 4 This Court has previously found that IBC Aviation applies to evaluate whether to permit or deny 5 joinder of parties. See Clear Connection Corp v. Comcast Cable Comm. Mgmt., No. 2:12-cv- 6 02910-TLN-DAD, 2014 WL 807413, at *2 (E.D. Cal. 2014). In IBC Aviation, plaintiff IBC 7 International Services, Inc. (“IBC”) filed suit against defendant Mexicana alleging a number of 8 state law claims. IBC Aviation, 125 F. Supp. 2d at 1009. Mexicana removed the matter to federal 9 court based on diversity. Id. IBC sought leave to file an amended complaint adding a non- 10 diverse defendant, Steven G. Connolly. Id. at 1010. The court, after evaluating six factors for 11 joinder, concluded that amendment of the complaint to add the non-diverse defendant was 12 warranted on the grounds that: “Mr. Connolly is more than tangentially related to the Plaintiffs’ 13 claims, amendment would conserve judicial resources and reduce the risk of inconsistent results, 14 Plaintiff’s request for leave to amend was not unreasonably delayed, the claims against Connolly 15 appear viable, and amendment will not prejudice the parties.” Id. at 1013. Plaintiffs have 16 presented no evidence that would persuade the Court to change its view on applying IBC Aviation 17 in the instant case. 18 C. Analysis Under IBC Aviation 19 Plaintiffs assert complete diversity does not exist because the named Doe defendants, Jim 20 and Bobbi Laughton (“Laughtons”), are citizens of California. (ECF No. 10 at 2.) Plaintiffs state 21 that joinder is only improper if the “claims against the non-diverse party [were] totally untenable 22 from the beginning.” (ECF No. 20 at 7.) Plaintiffs argue that since Jim Laughton conceded that 23 he was a grazing tenant on the Property at the time the initial complaint was filed, they have thus 24 stated a claim against the Laughtons. (ECF No. 20 at 5.) Defendant contends that federal 25 diversity jurisdiction is proper because Plaintiffs will be unable to establish liability against the 26 Laughtons, given that: (1) “there are no other owners of the [Property] or persons who claim an 27 interest in the [Property],” and (2) the lease with the Laughtons was terminated and all of the 28 cattle were removed prior to the filing of the FAC. (ECF No. 1 at 2; ECF No. 19 at 2.) 5 1 Defendant argues the Court should use its discretion as provided by 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e) to deny 2 joinder of the additional defendants. (ECF No. 19 at 3.) 3 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e) provides that, “[i]f after removal the plaintiff seeks to join additional 4 defendants whose joinder would destroy subject matter jurisdiction, the court may deny joinder, 5 or permit joinder and remand the action to the State court.” Newcome v. Adolf Coors Co., 157 6 F.3d 686, 691 (9th Cir. 1988). Factors a district court may look to in determining whether to 7 permit or deny joinder include: (1) whether the joined party is a necessary party under Federal 8 Rule of Civil Procedure 19(a); (2) whether the statute of limitations precludes an action in state 9 court; (3) whether the party seeking joinder has inexcusably delayed requesting joinder; (4) 10 whether there is any indication the joining party is forum shopping in order to avoid federal 11 jurisdiction; (5) the apparent validity of the claims against the joined defendant; and (6) potential 12 prejudice to plaintiff. IBC Aviation Services, 125 F. Supp. 2d at 1011. 13 14 i. Whether the Joined Party is Necessary Under Rule 19(a) As to the first factor, whether the joined party is a necessary party under Rule 19(a), 15 Defendant argues the Laughtons are not needed for an adjudication of claims because they have 16 no interest in the Property. (ECF No. 19 at 3.) Plaintiffs argue the Laughtons are necessary 17 because “the action requests a determination of the nature and scope of the grazing lease at issue 18 along with a tenant’s right to use a historic access road and corral structures.” (ECF No. 20 at 6.) 19 A necessary party is one “having an interest in the controversy, and who ought to be made 20 [a] part[y], in order that the court may act on that rule which requires it to decide and finally 21 determine the entire controversy . . . by adjusting all the rights involved in it.” CP Nat’l. Corp. v. 22 Bonneville Power Admin., 928 F.2d 905, 912 (9th Cir. 1991). Defendant states that the lease with 23 the Laughtons was terminated in May 2017 and all of the cattle were removed from the Property 24 on June 17, 2017, and thus the Laughtons no longer have an interest in the controversy. (ECF 25 No. 19 at 2.) However, Defendant does not provide the Court with any copies of the Laughtons’ 26 lease or any further evidence that all of the cattle have been removed from the Property. 27 Consequently, the Court cannot properly evaluate whether the Laughtons are a necessary party to 28 adjudicate the claims against Defendant. Thus, this factor at best weighs in favor of Plaintiffs. 6 1 ii. Whether the Statute of Limitations Precludes an Action in State Court 2 As to the second factor, whether the statute of limitations precludes an action in state 3 court, Defendant argues that there is no cause of action stated against the Laughtons and thus 4 there is no applicable statute to run. (ECF No. 19 at 3.) Plaintiffs assert that because Rule 19 5 joinder is appropriate, any statute of limitations issues are “irrelevant.” (ECF No. 20 at 6.) 6 The California State Legislature has not established a statute of limitations for suits to 7 quiet title. Muktarian v. Barmby, 63 Cal. 2d 558, 560 (1965). Thus, courts will determine the 8 applicable statute of limitations by looking to the underlying theory of relief. Id. This inquiry 9 requires courts to identify the nature of the claim. Hensler v. City of Glendale, 8 Cal. 4th 1, 22 10 (1994). The claims here are for cancellation of instruments. A quiet title action for cancellation 11 of an instrument has a four-year limitations period. Moss v. Moss, 20 Cal. 2d 640, 644–645 12 (1942). 13 Defendant asserts the Laughtons vacated the Property on June 17, 2017 (ECF No. 19 at 2), 14 and Plaintiffs concede they only learned of the Laughtons’ identity after they filed the motion for 15 remand (ECF No. 20 at 3). If Plaintiffs later desire to bring an action against the Laughtons in 16 state court, they would not be time-barred. Furthermore, the California Supreme Court has 17 recognized a general rule that the statute of limitations does not run against individuals in 18 possession of their land. Muktarian, 63 Cal. 2d at 560. Defendant does not dispute that Plaintiffs 19 are in possession of the Property, and thus Plaintiffs are not time-barred from bringing a quiet title 20 action in state court against the Laughtons. This factor weighs in favor of Defendant. 21 22 iii. Whether Party Seeking Joinder Has Inexcusably Delayed As to the third factor, whether the party seeking joinder has inexcusably delayed 23 requesting joinder, Defendant asserts that Plaintiffs knew the Laughtons were occupying the 24 Property before the initial complaint was filed, and that they vacated before the FAC was filed. 25 (ECF No. 19 at 4.) Plaintiffs state in their initial complaint that they will seek leave to amend the 26 pleading to substitute new defendants for the Doe defendants once they are able to determine the 27 exact terms of the lease and the parties with whom the lease was made. (ECF No. 1 at 8.) 28 In evaluating this factor, this Court has previously focused on plaintiffs’ explanation for 7 1 the length of the delay (instead of focusing solely on length of delay). See Clear Connection 2 Corp., LLC, 2014 WL 807413, at *3 (E.D. Cal. 2014). Here, Plaintiffs assert that after the motion 3 for remand was filed, Jim Laughton admitted that he had been leasing the Property when the 4 initial complaint was filed. (ECF No. 20 at 3.) However, the motion for remand was filed on 5 July 19, 2017, and the FAC naming the Laughtons as defendants was filed prior to the motion for 6 remand on June 26, 2017. Plaintiffs’ assertions are inconsistent and they do not clearly state 7 exactly when the Plaintiffs discovered facts giving rise to the claim against the Laughtons. Thus, 8 this factor weighs in favor of Defendant. 9 iv. Whether Joining Party is Forum Shopping 10 As to the fourth factor, whether there is any indication the joining party is forum shopping 11 in order to avoid federal jurisdiction, Defendant states that the Laughtons were added for the sole 12 purpose of defeating diversity jurisdiction. (ECF No. 19 at 4.) Plaintiffs assert in their reply that 13 the Laughtons were always intended to be named as parties in the initial complaint and “doing so 14 is necessary for a complete determination of all the issues.” (ECF No. 20 at 6.) 15 The Ninth Circuit has stated that since this factor is relevant to determine whether joinder 16 is appropriate, “a trial court should look with particular care at such motive in removal cases, 17 when the presence of a new defendant will defeat the court’s diversity jurisdiction and will 18 require a remand to state court.” Desert Empire Bank v. Ins. Co. of N. Am., 623 F.2d 1371, 1376 19 (9th Cir. 1980). In evaluating this factor, “courts have considered whether the plaintiff was 20 ‘aware of the removal,’” and whether at the time the plaintiff amended the pleadings to add a 21 non-diverse defendant “the basis for removal was diversity jurisdiction.” See San Jose 22 Neurospine, 2016 WL 7242139, at *10 (N.D. Cal. 2016). Courts “have inferred an improper 23 motive where the plaintiff’s proposed amended complaint contains only minor or insignificant 24 changes to the original complaint.” Id. 25 It appears to the Court that Plaintiffs were aware that adding a non-diverse defendant 26 would allow them to file a motion for remand. Furthermore, Plaintiffs’ FAC filed prior to their 27 motion for remand does not contain significant changes to the initial complaint. The only 28 changes Plaintiffs made were naming the Laughtons as defendants and adding their names to 8 1 three claims (ECF No. 7 ¶¶ 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 23, 28.) The Court infers from the above facts that 2 Plaintiffs held an improper motive when they named the Laughtons in their FAC. Thus, this 3 factor weighs in favor of Defendant. 4 v. Apparent Validity of Claims Against Joined Defendant 5 As to the fifth factor, the apparent validity of the claims against the joined defendant, 6 Defendant asserts there is no valid claim because the Laughtons “have no real or substantial 7 interest in the [P]roperty.” (ECF No. 19 at 4.) Plaintiffs argue that a valid cause of action has 8 been stated (ECF No. 20 at 6–7.) 9 When evaluating this factor, courts “‘need only determine whether the claim seems valid,’ 10 which is not the same as the standard in either a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary 11 judgment.” See Meggs v. NBC Universal Media, LLC, 2017 WL 2974916, at *8 (C.D. Cal. 12 2017); Taylor v. Honeywell Corp., 2010 WL 1881459, at *3 (N.D. Cal. 2010) (stating that the 13 “existence of a facially legitimate claim against the putative defendant weighs in favor of 14 permitting joinder under section 1447(e)”). 15 In the FAC, Plaintiffs do not seek to add any new claims against the Laughtons, but have 16 simply added the Laughtons to their existing claims. (ECF No. 7.) The specific claims against 17 the Laughtons must be evaluated on the merits. As discussed below, the Court finds that 18 Plaintiffs state valid quiet title claims against the Laughtons. Thus, this factor weighs in favor of 19 Plaintiffs. 20 21 a. Quiet Title to Property Free of Any Lease Plaintiffs allege that the Laughtons’ lease was made with “specific intent to prejudice 22 [their] interest in the Property and their cattle business, to deprive [them] of peaceful enjoyment 23 of the Property, and . . . to harass [them].” (ECF No. 7 ¶ 9.) 24 An action to quiet title is brought “to establish title against adverse claims to real or 25 personal property or any interest therein.” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 760.020. A complaint to quiet 26 title must be verified and contain the following: (1) a description of the property that is the subject 27 of the action; (2) the title of the plaintiff under which a determination is sought; (3) adverse 28 claims to title of plaintiff against which a determination is sought; (4) date as of which the 9 1 determination is sought; and (5) a prayer for determination of the title of plaintiff against adverse 2 claims. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 761.020. 3 Plaintiffs’ FAC contains all of the requisite elements. First, Plaintiffs attach a legal 4 description of the Property that is the subject of the action. (ECF No. 7 at 9–11.) Plaintiffs state 5 that the Property “is located on French Bar Road in Amador County” and “is approximately 6 537.97 acres, has no residential structures upon it, and is used primarily for cattle grazing.” (ECF 7 No. 7 ¶ 1.) Second, Plaintiffs allege that they are the collective owners of the Property and 8 possess an undivided 75-percent interest in the Property as tenants in common. (ECF No. 7 ¶ 2.) 9 Third, Plaintiffs allege the Property has been leased to the Laughtons, who claim rights in the 10 property as tenants. (ECF No. 7 ¶ 8.) Fourth, Plaintiffs filed their FAC with this Court on June 11 26, 2017. (ECF No. 7.) Fifth, Plaintiffs ask for a judgment to quiet title to the Property “free and 12 clear of any grazing lease executed by or in favor of any defendant or any other interest claimed 13 by any defendant that is contrary to or in conflict with [P]laintiffs’ interest in the Property.” (ECF 14 No. 7 at 5.) Thus, Plaintiffs have stated a valid quiet title claim against the Laughtons. 15 b. Quiet Title to Digitale Easement on Plasse Ranch 16 Plaintiffs allege that Defendant has misused her permission to use the Digitale Easement 17 on Plasse Ranch “by leaving gates open, parking on access road, blocking corral structures, and 18 being verbally abusive.” (ECF No. 7 ¶ 21.) Plaintiffs do not make any specific factual 19 allegations regarding the Laughtons and do not plead any of the elements required for a quiet title 20 claim with respect to the Digitale Easement. Thus, Plaintiffs cannot state a facially legitimate 21 claim against the Laughtons. Taylor, 2010 WL 1881459, at *3. 22 c. Quiet Title to License for Use of Plasse Ranch Corrals 23 Plaintiffs allege that neither Defendant nor any tenant (which would include the 24 Laughtons) has “made any repairs to or otherwise maintained the corrals as required by Exhibit 25 4.” (ECF No. 7 ¶ 25.) Exhibit 4 is the “Declaration of Understanding Concerning Corral Use,” 26 which states that the corrals shall remain available for use by the Plasse and Digitale families and 27 any of their lessees “as long as the corral continues to be jointly maintained and is used solely for 28 the purpose of cattle ranching.” (ECF No. 7 at 21.) 10 1 Plaintiffs’ FAC contains all of the elements required by the California Code of Civil 2 Procedure section 761.020, as articulated above. First, Plaintiffs provide a description of the 3 location of the corrals. (ECF No. 7 ¶ 25.) Second, Plaintiffs state that they own Plasse Ranch, 4 and the corrals in question are located on Plasse Ranch. (ECF No. 7 ¶¶ 17, 25.) Third, Plaintiffs 5 imply, but do not allege, that Defendant has a license to use the corrals, which “is conditioned 6 upon the regular maintenance of said corrals.” (ECF No. 7 ¶¶ 26, 28.) Plaintiffs explicitly 7 request to quiet title to any rights to use the corrals by Defendant “or anyone claiming rights 8 through [Defendant], including [the Laughtons].” (ECF No. 7 ¶ 28.) Fourth, Plaintiffs filed their 9 FAC with this Court on June 26, 2017. (ECF No. 7.) Fifth, Plaintiffs ask for a judgment to quiet 10 title to the Plasse Ranch “free and clear of any interest of any defendant.” (ECF No. 7 at 5.) 11 Thus, Plaintiffs have stated a valid quiet title claim against the Laughtons. 12 13 vi. Potential Prejudice to Plaintiff As to the sixth factor, the potential prejudice to plaintiff, neither Plaintiffs nor Defendant 14 address this issue. Plaintiffs would not be time-barred from filing a new action against the 15 Laughtons in state court should they wish to do so. This factor is at best, neutral, and at worst, 16 weighs in favor of Defendant. 17 18 As four out of the six factors weigh in favor of denying joinder and maintaining federal jurisdiction, the Court exercises its discretion and declines to permit joinder of the Laughtons. 19 IV. CONCLUSION 20 For the foregoing reasons, the Court hereby declines to permit joinder of Jim and Bobbi 21 Laughton in Plaintiffs’ FAC and DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion for Remand. (ECF No. 10.) The 22 parties shall file a Joint Status Report within thirty (30) days of this Order. 23 24 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: December 5, 2017 25 26 27 Troy L. Nunley United States District Judge 28 11

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